You’ve got the crib, the baby books, and car seats, but for any expecting NJMOM, deciding on the best stroller tends to be of the biggest investments you can make. After all, it’s kind of like buying a car—you need to look over the features, find the best price, and take it for a test drive. Buying that one in any climate can be hard, but it is extra challenging during a pandemic since shopping in person is tricky (and not what you may be comfortable with). But put up your feet, mamas, because we talked to NJMOM and baby gear expert Selina Aquino, who has over two decades of experience in the baby industry, for her expert insight to finding the best stroller without a store visit. And for more info on everything baby, check out the NJMOM Virtual Baby Expo, happening November 19-21.
Featured photo via @Cybex
Here’s how to shop for the best stroller virtually
City or suburbs? Single or double?
Having owned 16 strollers throughout her early years as a mom of three, Selina is no stranger to the defining characteristics of finding the perfect stroller for your family. The first step? Establish which category of baby stroller you need. In other words, where you live and how many kids you have will determine what you should test drive.
If you live in an urban area, Selina says you’ll need bigger wheels, great suspension, and rear-facing/forward-facing options, as well as an included or optional bassinet. These are the best strollers for those who are on-the-go and tend to walk most places. For suburban life, she recommends a mid-size or hybrid size. “They are like a full-size stroller, just with a smaller footprint, lighter in weight, yet still offer great suspension,” says Selina. She adds that the price is usually better, too, as additional pieces are sold separately.
Finally, it’s important to determine if you’ll want a single or double stroller. If you’re expecting twins or multiples, it’s a no-brainer. But if it’s your first baby, think about your family goals down the line before you buy. If you plan to add a second into the mix while your baby is still young, Selina says opting for a stroller that can convert to a double is a “great way of investing in both at the same time.”
Look at feature, function, and quality
Once you’ve got your stroller category down, Selina recommends zeroing in on the stroller’s features, function, and quality. And expect a bit of sticker shock—prices can start around $200 on the lower end. For higher-end models, $600 is average, with prices climbing into the $1000 mark for added features, trendy metallic finishes, and ultra-durable wheels. But keep in mind everything is included, whereas the less expensive model has separate add-ons that tend to add up. “Investing in a higher-end model is often better because it’s all in one, and they are less likely to break down or require replacement parts over the life of the stroller. That less expensive model may end up costing you more in the end for extra parts and if you have to replace it,” says Selina. What’s more, like a car, there’s a great market for selling used high-end baby strollers, so you may be able to get a return on your investment. Also, if you plan to extend your family, the more expensive strollers tend to last longer and will work for your future kids too.
Now comes the work—with so many choices, finding the best stroller requires a bit of research. To help you pare down your choice, Selina suggests considering if the features work for your lifestyle and if you think the stroller can go the distance (i.e., last for a few years). Also, read the reviews from other moms to help you narrow your choices. Keep in mind that other factors, including car seat compatibility and warranties, can help you decide too. Of course, the best way to find the stroller of your dreams? Ask around to mom friends who’ve been there, who can guide you on brand, price, and durability.
Take it for a spin (virtually)
Just like everything else in 2020, stroller buying and in-store trying have now gone virtual. While it’s not the same as the real deal, it’s the next best thing. At Bambi Baby, with Paramus and Middletown locations, you can schedule virtual shopping appointments with sales staff via Zoom for a private, personally catered shopping experience, including up-close looks of leading stroller models. Buy Buy Baby has an online chat option that lets you talk to a product specialist about strollers and ask questions. With everyone adapting to whatever 2020 throws at us, it can’t hurt to call your favorite local baby gear shop to see if they’re offering similar services via Facetime or Zoom, too.
Finally, after you decide on the best baby stroller for your needs, make sure you protect your investment. Selina advises submitting your warranty and product registration paperwork as soon as possible and that you read it carefully. Many companies, she says, “give you an extended warranty for filling out your paperwork online versus one of the mail-in cards that come with the stroller.” And after that, you’ll be ready to roll out your new wheels.
Here are NJMOM’s best stroller picks
Cybex Priam3 ($1000)— Moms are fans of this full-size luxe stroller for its grow-with-your-baby features—it has a Lux Seat that lies flat for an infant then morphs into a carrier size that faces rear or forward, eventually becoming a comfy chair for toddlers.
GB QBit All-City Stroller ($250) This stroller is compatible with infant car seats and is a top seller because of its luxe look at a reasonable price. The front swivel wheels are key for maneuvering in tight spots, and the cushy, mesh seatback helps keep your baby cool on warm days.
Nuna Mixx Next — ($750) This plush ride has unique features that keep your babe comfy during a ride, with a 5-position recline for nappers on the go and a sleek design that folds into a compact frame, making it the best stroller when you’re tight on storage.
Uppababy Cruz V2 ($650) —The slim profile and lightweight aluminum frame make this a mom-favorite, especially since it only requires one hand to open and close.
Bugaboo Bee ($600) — This extra-light compact is great for moms on the go since it’s got a 4-wheel suspension, folds easily, and rides smoothly over sidewalks and uneven terrain.
Cybex Gazelle S ($900)— A lightweight, double stroller that offers a narrow profile (great for getting through doorways and tight spaces) and can be converted in multiple configurations that face forward, back, or remove a seat to make it a single.
Baby Jogger City Select Stroller ($500) — This stroller is popular among growing families since it has 16 configurations and modular options (sold separately) that will allow up to 3 kids. It’s got large swivel wheels to cover any terrain—but keep in mind this makes it heavier to handle than other models.
Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Stroller ($266) — This good-looking stroller easily converts to a double for an expanding family, allowing you to add an infant car seat or a second toddler seat.
Mockingbird Single Stroller ($350) — This stroller offers all the premium features of a more expensive one but doesn’t have the high price tag. Parents love this stroller for its chic, stylish look and features, like a one-hand fold and never-flat wheels.
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